Today, the Senate unanimously passed a bill brought about by Sen. Jan Angel’s promise to add transparency and effectiveness to the state’s homeless funding mechanism. The legislation implements the recommendations of a third-party audit fought for by Angel in 2014.
“Homelessness is a major issue in Washington and we have to get the most out of every dollar we spend helping people,” said Angel, R-Port Orchard. “We need to know how these dollars are being used and we need to know that they’re being used effectively.”
Senate Bill 5252 is a result of a neutral, third-party audit requested by Angel in 2014 as part of a compromise bill to extend the document recording fee which serves as a major funding source for state and local homelessness efforts.
“When the document recording fee bill first came to my committee, there were significant issues with transparency in the use of the funding,” said Angel. “This bill is a nearly word-for-word copy of the neutral, third-party audit recommendations that will provide a clear and honest accounting of our homelessness funding.”
The measure requires the creation of performance measures for the use of document recording fee funds that detail the impact on point-in-time counts of homeless persons. The Department of Commerce must report on these measurements and recommendations by the end of this year. The Joint Legislative and Audit Review Committee must also conduct a longer-term review of the use of these funds in reducing homelessness.
In 2014, Angel stopped a bill to extend the document recording fee in committee until a compromise could be reached to add an audit and review of how the funds are being used. The compromise bill, Senate Bill 5875, passed in the final hours of the 2014 session.
This bill proceeds to the House for consideration.